THE Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) is validating reports that there are at least three operators in the city running an illegal numbers game based on jai-alai.

Senior Superintendent Flynn Dongbo, acting director of BCPO, has ordered all station commanders to intensify their operations against illegal gambling, especially on jai-alai, said Chief Inspector Dianne Catedral, public information officer of BCPO.

Catedral said the police were informed that there are at least three operators in the city, left over from the eight that were reported around five years ago.

All station chiefs were directed to focus not only on illegal drugs, but also on illegal gambling, Catedral said, adding that they are also required to submit a weekly accomplishment on their anti-illegal gambling operations.

Police chiefs were tasked to arrest not only illegal jai-alai bet collectors, but also the bettors and operators, Catedral added.

The BCPO Intelligence Unit was also directed to monitor and identify the operators of jai-alai in the city, she said.

All jai-alai-related operations in Bacolod City are considered illegal because gaming firm Meridien Vista Gaming Corp., which is the sole licensee to operate legal jai-alai games, has no betting stations in the city.

A joint Memorandum Order by the Department of Justice and Department of Interior and Local Government dated June 27, 2011 states that “no law allows the operation of off-fronton betting stations, as in fact they are prohibited and criminalized under Section 5 of RA 954, an act prohibiting certain activities in connection with horse races and basque pelota games (jai-alai).”

Philippine National Police (PNP) Letter of Instruction 05/2012 activated the PNP Anti-Illegal Gambling-Special Operations Task Forces at the national, regional and provincial levels to conduct general law enforcement operations against illegal numbers games under Presidential Decree 11602 as amended by Republic Act 9287.